Tears of joy were flowing and the crowd of 4,350 fans could barely contain themselves after Donar’s decisive win in the MartiniPlaza. The Groningen team will move on to the semi-finals of the FIBA Europe Cup following a 101-74 blow-out victory against Mornar Bar. The lead was more than enough to erase any memory of Donar’s six-point loss to the same team last week in Montenegro. Donar will face Umana Reyer Venezia in the semi-final after the Italian team beat the Russian team Novogrod.
Coach Erik Braal and the team’s performance has been unprecedented during a season with such an intense schedule. After effectively winning their game against Leiden in the first quarter three days ago, the team was back at in in the MartiniPlaza on Wednesday night. The team’s goal was to rebalance the scales after a 73-67 loss to Mornar last week. The teams were neck and neck with 14 points apiece early on, but within 10 minutes, Donar had broken away with a 25-20 lead.
The crowd was horrified to see Brandyn Curry briefly sidelined by a knee injury, but the American player was treated by the team medics courtside and was able to get back in the game. Curry went on to become the game’s top scorer with 19 points. Evan Bruinsma and Drago Pasalic each scored 18 points.
Empowered by a unified defence, Donar executed one strong play after another and delivered a strong team performance. At halftime, the score was 52-34 for Donar, and the Groningen team kept the momentum going as the second half kicked off with a 9-point run that went unanswered by Mornar. At one point, the team had a 30-point-lead on their opponents and broke the 100-point mark by the end of the game.
The semi-final games are tentatively scheduled for 11 and 18 April, and Donar is expected to play in Italy first.